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Meth warrants served, 2 suspects arrested

A multi-agency task force of gun-toting law enforcement officials served two search warrants Tuesday morning at rural Oak Harbor homes suspected of being methamphetamine labs.

The search warrants are part of an on-going drug investigation that links two Whidbey Island men to the high-profile theft of ammonia gas from Arlington earlier this month.

Jan Smith, the spokesperson for the Island County Sheriff’s Office, said an Oak Harbor couple, 46-year-old Duane Christian and 40-year-old Leanna Christian, were arrested during the searches Tuesday on suspicion of possessing chemicals and equipment associated with the manufacture of meth.

The Grant County Sheriff’s Office was able to obtain the search warrants after two North Whidbey men were arrested in the Eastern Washington county last week with large quantities of chemicals used in the production of meth.

The 55-gallon drums of chemicals were “potentially headed for Whidbey,” Smith said, where they may have been used to cook meth. Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a powerful and dangerous type of “speed.”

The Whidbey Island men, Duane Christian and 46-year-old Steve Lomax, were arrested and booked into the Grant County jail May 21, according to Grant County jail records. Christian was booked on suspicion of third-degree theft, possession with intent to deliver meth, malicious mischief in the second degree, attempted theft and criminal trespass in the second degree.

Lomax was booked on suspicion of possession with intent to deliver, but more charges were added later, a jail spokesperson said.

Christian and Lomax have been linked to the high-profile theft of ammonia that led to the evacuation of Arlington earlier this month, as well as a chemical theft from Quincy in Grant County.

Both men are out of jail on bail bonds.

The task force made up of the State Patrol’s Special Incident Response Team, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Island County Sheriff’s Office served the first search warrant at a home on the 1300 block of Zylstra Road Tuesday.

The residents, Duane and Leanna Christian, were taken into custody on suspicion of running a meth lab.

Smith said the couple may also face charges for possession of stolen property since a stolen personal water craft was also found on the property.

A short while later, the task force served the second search warrant at Lomax’s home on the 1800 block of Fort Nugent Road. Nobody was home as the well-armed agents stormed the premises. Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley then sent out for lunch for the officers before they started the search. “They’re going to tear this place apart and see what they can find,” he said.

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or call 675-6611.

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